Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Squirrel!

Last night, which was Tuesday, Ashke was as exciting and squirrelly as I had expected after two nights off without work. He bucked and reared on the way to the round pen, squealing at the QH stallion Cass they had at the stable. Cass ignored him, as did I. When we got to the round pen I turned him loose and actually chased him around the round pen for exactly 3/4 of a circle before Ashke realized the world was ending and stopped.

After our aborted attempt at some sort of lunging, I swung aboard. They the battle began. Ashke pushed at the bit, tossed his head, attempted to run out from under me, stopped abruptly, and shied at his shadow. It looked a lot like this:


It was exhausting. And enough to make one dizzy. After working in the round pen for about 20 minutes, we moved to the big arena. While we were riding in the big arena, a couple of women on their horses rode around the outside of the arena in the opposite direction Ashke and I were moving. Ashke was so interested in checking them out that he couldn't focus on anything.

See?


I love the head toss and stiff legged stop. I especially enjoy his rather serious attempt to preempt my direction with his own.


Doesn't that look like fun? At no point last night did he settle. After almost an hour of riding, I gave up and took him back to the barn.

Tonight when we went out he was very quiet and almost lethargic. His ears were up and his eyes looked great, but he was kind of subdued. It could have been the weather. Or maybe he was a little constipated. Or maybe he was horribly excited about riding in an arena (indoor). After I got on him I let him set the pace and direction. I wanted to see how he would do if he wasn't fighting the bit and my hands. He did really well. He walked and trotted. He turned and moved where I asked.

I think he was bored silly.

J and I set up cones and Ashke and I trotted in a serpentine pattern through them. No problem. So then we set up the poles and we did the same thing. J set up a gate at one end of the pole set and he walked between them. The next time we came down there was a lead rope stretched between the two poles that made up the gate. He walked over it. Everything we tried was easy. The only issue was that it was difficult to keep him moving.

I decided that we needed to try the field. Out we went. Ashke went from lethargic to energized. We went from a slow simple trot to legs going every which way, head up, fighting the bit, shying sideways at the least provocation - dark patch of grass, pile of horse dung, broken weed lying atop the grass, old tree stump and last but not least, rabbit. He, at least, seemed to enjoy it, although we were back to the stop and not want to move trick, even in the field. And we still haven't cantered. That's primarily because I don't trust him yet not to go out and sideways at the drop of a hat. He needs to be move centered at the trot first, although there are times when he really wanted to canter. Or gallop. Or break free and run forever. You know, whichever comes first.

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